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16 Tue

The “why”, the “how”, and the “what”.

The “why”, the “how”, and the “what”.

Paul Kochoa, PT, DPT, OCS, CKTP, CGFI


Physical therapy and medicine are all about asking the right questions.  “How are you doing today?” “Where does it hurt?” “When did your pain start?”  Stuff like that.  But keep in mind, some questions are more important than others.  The “what” you have is less important than “why” you have it, and the most important is “how”.

As medical professionals, we always ask our patients questions.  Oftentimes, we get asked questions in return.  One common one is, “What is this pain I’m having right here?”

The “what” in this case is a diagnosis.  Sometimes, I get asked, the “what” question. “So what’s your diagnosis?”  Sometimes I don’t because another medical doctor or MRI told them the “what”.  It’s a diagnosis or term that can make rehab difficult, because it’s really easy to become overly concerned with the term or diagnosis and not be focused on the “why”.

So you have pain.  That pain is less connected to the test result or the diagnosis, and more connected to the “why you have this pain”.  Physiotherapists are movement and exercise specialists.  If we can find out why you have pain, we are more likely to be able to fix it.  And that leads to the “how”.  How can we fix it and how can you, as a patient, fix it yourself and prevent it from returning.

Don’t be quick to rely on MRI results and diagnosis terms. The “why” is more important.  Why is your body creating this pain sensation? As physiotherapists, we look at movement quality and assess for asymmetries, motor control issues, or increased sensitivity to pain.  This can lead to how we can fix it and correct the above issues and then empower you to be able to fix it yourself to prevent its recurrence.

If you would like more information, please call Professional Physical Therapy and Training at 973-270-7417.  Our offices are located within the YMCA locations in Madison and Summit, NJ.  You do not need to be a member of the YMCA to visit with us.


Image courtesy of jscreationzs /

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